In 2011, I announced I was trying to see every film released in 1939. This new series chronicles films released in 1939 as I watch them. As we start out this blog feature, this section may become more concrete as I search for a common thread that runs throughout each film of the year. Right now, that’s difficult.
Anne Shirley, James Ellison, Barbara Read, Pamela Blake (billed as Adele Pearce), J.M. Kerrigan, Helen Wood, Doris Davenport (Doris Jordan), June Storey, Elisabeth Risdon, Margaret Armstrong, Selmer Jackson, Chill Wills, Marge Champions (uncredited), Frank Sully (uncredited)
RKO Radio Pictures
Alice Fisher (Shirley) is a smalltown girl who helps her father (Kerrigan) at his grocery store. Nearly thinking she won’t be able to attend Talbot College, her father makes financial sacrifices by using his life savings so that she can attend college. Upon arriving, Alice learns of sororities and is eager to join, as all the girls excitedly discuss rushing. While not wanting to be a social pariah, Alice has to determine if joining the exclusive (and expensive) groups is worthwhile.
It’s no secret that the Hollywood Comet loves musicals. In 2010, I revealed I had seen 400 movie musicals over the course of eight years. Now that number is over 600. To celebrate and share this musical love, here is my weekly feature about musicals.
This week’s musical:
Good News (1947) – Musical #70
Director: Charles Walters
June Allyson, Peter Lawford, Patricia Marshall, Joan McCracken, Ray McDonald, Mel Tormé, Robert E. Strickland, Donald MacBride, Tom Dugan, Clinton Sundberg, Loren Tindall, Connie Gilchrist, Jimmy Lydon (uncredited), Tommy Rall (uncredited)
Set in 1927 at Tait College, all of the boys are falling for new student and sorority girl, Pat McClellan (Marshall) – including football star Tommy Marlowe (Lawford). Gold-digging Pat doesn’t want anything to do with Tommy, finding him unrefined. To show her he can be worldly, Tommy heads to the library to learn French and meets student Connie Lane (Allyson), a sorority sister of Pat. Tommy and Connie fall for each other, but soon Pat turns her attentions to Tommy.
It’s no secret that the Hollywood Comet loves musicals. In 2010, I revealed I had seen 400 movie musicals over the course of eight years. Now that number is more than 500. To celebrate and share this musical love, here is my weekly feature about musicals.
This week’s musical:
“College Holiday” (1936)– Musical #527
Jack Benny, Gracie Allen, George Burns, Marsha Hunt, Martha Raye, Mary Boland, Leif Erickson, Ben Blue, Johnny Downs, Eleanore Whitney, Olympe Bradna, Mischa Auer (uncredited), Ellen Drew (uncredited), Eddie Foy, Jr. (uncredited), Dorothy Lamour (uncredited), Marjorie Reynolds (uncredited)
Dick Winters (Erickson) meets Sylvia Smith (Hunt) at an east coast college dance and falls in love. But before he can learn her name she has to quickly leave to head home and help her father who is having financial problems with their California hotel. Nutty heiress Carola P. Gaye (Boland) owns the mortgage to the hotel and has an interest in eugenics; believing that ancient Greeks were the “super race.” In order for the Smiths to keep the hotel, J. Davis Bowster (Benny) gathers entertainers to perform at the hotel, making Gaye believe that they are there for experiments. The downside is that the male and female students can’t fraternize, because it will anger Gaye and ruin her experiments. This hinders Dick’s goal to better get to know Sylvia.
George Burns, Jack Benny, Gracie Allen, Mary Boland
-Costumes by Edith Head
-Film features Dorothy Lamour as an uncredited dancer.
-The Sweetheart Waltz
-(Enchanted) I Adore You performed by Marsha Hunt & Leif Erickson
-A Rhyme for Love performed by Johnny Downs and Eleanore Whitney
-So What? performed by Martha Raye
While many college themed films are a bit silly, I usually go out of my way to see them.
“College Holiday” fits of the bill of being goofy but it’s bizarre plot sets it apart from other collegiate films. In fact, this may be the only comedic pre-World War II film that I have ever seen that deals with eugenics and superior races. Mary Boland walks around dressed in ancient Greek garb and discussing the “super race” and tries experiments, such as setting the mood to get mismatched college students to fall in love. Many classic collegiate films deal with football games, dances, and fraternities serenading sororities.
As Turner Classic Movies host Robert Osborne noted, this type of storyline wouldn’t be used just a few years after this films release due to Adolf Hitler’s views on the superior race.
Gracie Allen and George Burns all provide humorous, though sometimes tiresome, scenes. But he real treat to me was the casting of the lovely Marsha Hunt, who I always love to see in films.
Audiences also have the pleasure of seeing tap dance performances by young actors Johnny Downs and Eleanore Whitney. The downside is that their second number has the two college students in blackface.
Jack Benny also has funny scenes and pulls out his violin a few times. At the end of the movie, Benny breaks the fourth wall, addressing the audience while playing the same role and character that he portrayed on the radio.
While “College Holiday” isn’t an amazing film and has a few irritating parts involving Gracie Allen, it’s still a fairly entertaining film.
It’s no secret that the Hollywood Comet loves musicals. In 2010, I revealed I had seen 400 movie musicals over the course of eight years. Now that number is over 500. To celebrate and share this musical love, here is my weekly feature about musicals.
This week’s musical:
“Old Man Rhythm” –Musical #267
RKO Radio Pictures
Charles “Buddy” Rogers, George Barbier, Barbara Kent, Grace Bradley, Betty Grable, Eric Blore, Erik Rhodes, John Arledge, Johnny Mercer, Donald Meek, Evelyn Poe, Joy Hodges, Lucille Ball (uncredited), Douglas Fowley (uncredited)
John Roberts, Sr. (Barbier) hears his son John Roberts, Jr. (Rogers) is doing poorly at college. His grades dropped when he started dating Marion (Bradley), rather than Edith (Kent), who John’s father prefers.
To help get John’s grades back on track and together with Edith, John, Sr. enrolls at the college as a freshman.
But while studying at school, wealthy Roberts’s company begins to suffer.
-Johnny Mercer acts in this film and wrote the lyrics to all of the songs.
-Betty Grable tap dancing in toe shoes after the “Comes a Revolution” number.
-“Boys Will Be Boys” sung by Betty Grable, Evelyn Poe, Joy Hodges
-“Comes a Revolution, Baby” sung by Johnny Mercer and Evelyn Poe
-“There’s Nothing Like a College Education” sung by the whole cast
Charles Buddy Rogers, Barbara Kent and George Barbier.
“Old Man Rhythm” is an entertaining B-musicals with some actors who later became big names in Hollywood.
It’s hard to resist an old Hollywood collegiate film that makes you wish- Why wasn’t college really like this? The students ride on a train to school together, the dorm rooms like like a 4-star hotels and there is a weenie roast every night.
Of course all the while, the co-eds are singing songs that have lyrics like, “There’s nothing like a college education to teach you how to fall in love.”
This movie is also fun because you can spots stars who later became big names in Hollywood. Betty Grable is one, who has a couple of songs and close-ups in the film. Songwriter Johnny Mercer is also in the film, and not only does he sing, he wrote all of the songs in the film.
There is also an uncredited Lucille Ball as a student.
I would also say that the father, George Barbier, steals the show here-even though the film ends with him goofily beating on timpani drums-alluding that he is “Old Man Rhythm.”
I am also always happy to see actor John Arledge in most films.
This is a cute little film that could help occupy a dull afternoon.